This past Saturday morning, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms was the speaker at the Republican Breakfast. I didn't make it. However, over on Virginia News Source, Ben Krause facetiously asked if one of three people was going to write Sessoms' speech - and I was one of the three.
No, Sessoms has never asked me to write a speech for him. However, it got me thinking: what if I had been asked to write it? What would I have the Mayor telling the breakfast crowd? He'd want to add more to it, but these are the basic comments:
Good morning, Republicans! It's a fine day in Virginia Beach, and we have even better days to come.
As a candidate to become your Mayor, I promised to place a heavy emphasis on jobs creation. Not just t-shirt vendors and convenience store clerks, but quality jobs with good benefits. While you never achieve everything you set out to right away, we have put in place measures to attract those kind of jobs. In addition, we will continually take further steps as fiscally prudent.
I wear my support for light rail on my sleeve. It is essential for transportation, jobs creation, and land redevelopment. The Study process continues as mandated by the Code of Virginia. Remember that the process is legally required despite the attempts of fringe elements to short-circuit it. We will obtain the facts, and then City Council will make a decision based on those facts.
Light rail will give us connectivity through the region once a network is built out. Virginia Beach is part of Hampton Roads; our city line is not an impermeable economic barrier. Whether it's our Oceanfront here at home, or the port as a region, we are blessed with natural assets that other areas would die for. Yes, they are assets despite the attempts by some extremists to demonize any and all public investment in them.
I have been working with my Mayor's Minority Roundtable to reach out to our minority communities. We are a stronger city for including all forward-looking people and groups in policy formulation. We face a potential flashpoint with next year's Redistricting process, but we must not allow it to become the farcical charade the 2001 process was. If we can build a coalition of mainstream Republicans, the business community, and the minority communities, that coalition would be a juggernaut pushing this city forward for years to come.
Council will soon be holding it's annual Retreat. There I hope to push forward new initiatives to further grow and prosper Virginia Beach. With the support of a majority on Council, which I certainly believe is there, we will push forward and achieve the promise that fringe radicals will tell you is both impossible and undesirable.
We have an election in November, with five contested Council seats. I certainly hope you join me in supporting candidates who would strive for progress in our city and region. We may not agree on all five races, especially in Princess Anne District. However, I hope everyone in this room can and will reject the quartet of candidates who believe Virginia Beach peaked a quarter century ago and is now in decline.
As Republicans, I certainly hope you can support our pro-business line. As The Party of Lincoln, I hope you will embrace my efforts to reach out to those who have been historically excluded. By all forward-thinking people and groups joining together, Virginia Beach's best days will be in those days still to come. I thank you for this opportunity to speak to you this morning, and now am happy to answer any questions.